I’ve spoken many times before about the destructive mindset I used to have in my teens and twenties, fixated as I was on holidays and escape and the ‘more’ that I was sure would lead me towards happiness.
Back in these days, when I did get around to planning a holiday, I was very set in my approach. To qualify as a ‘good’ holiday, there had to be sun, sea, a nice beach and a nice pool. Ideally, it would last for two weeks, but I’d take 10 days at a push. Frankly, I wouldn’t have entertained the notion of a 3-day city break, or a ‘doing’ holiday, because, “WTF?! Don’t you know how hard I work!?! And now you won’t even let me REST on my holiday?!!!”
Nowadays, things have changed.
Firstly, I developed Vitiligo a few years back, which means that baking in the sun now requires endless re-applications of factor 50, or mummification, both of which make sunbathing by the pool less appealing. Secondly and perhaps most importantly, I quit teaching within a school structure and set up my own teaching business, which meant that wasn’t constantly seeking escape to alleviate daily misery.
If you’re able to create a day-to-day life in which you find happiness and contentment, then travel breaks and holidays are more of a bonus than a necessity; a shot of Morphine rather than life support.
It’s thanks to this shift in mindset that I’ve enjoyed some rather smashing holidays, most recently of which was a mini-break in the Algarve, Portugal.
It didn’t meet much of my old criteria – it was too cold to go in the sea (I actually had to buy a Fleece. A Fleece!); the hotel pool wasn’t open; we stayed for just three nights.
And I loved it. I LOVED it.
The beach was so incredibly beautiful. I could spend hours watching the sea, especially as the wind picked up. The town was so quiet, which meant no queuing for dinner or fighting for sunbeds. Mr. G and I just strolled around the town, soaking up the sights, tasting local delicacies (including some rather terrifying-looking seafood!)
Looking back now, it feels as though I was away for much longer – a few weeks perhaps.
Why? I think it’s because it was a quality experience.
My younger-self probably wouldn’t have believed me… but it turns out that a few days full of mindful, happy memories, is more long-lasting and happiness-enriching than 2 weeks of sun-filled, all-inclusive life-support.
It’s not the size that matters. It’s what you do with it that counts 😉